little thing to which I cling

There is nothing remarkable about the fact that I threw my few-month-old toothbrush in the trash a couple of weeks ago and plucked a new one from the cabinet. The bristles at the edges of the old one were bowed out and I was beginning to sense that it might not be optimally effective. Perhaps it is a bit more telling that, at the time, even though my former beau and I had broken up, I couldn’t yet bring myself to throw away the spare toothbrush he kept in the bathroom cabinet.

I actually had it in my grasp and was about to toss it, but somehow I wasn’t quite ready yet. And I’ve learned to be gentle with myself about the weird small things I sometimes feel inclined to hold onto for just a bit longer. Even now, it’s there, occupying the space next to mine, tucked close to the edge — in part to go undetected by the children.

It’s not likely to make the next round of bathroom cleaning. In fact, it make not make it through the day. If we were to change our minds, to find our way back to each other, the cost of a new toothbrush would certainly be no barrier or hurdle. I don’t think that is likely to happen. Yet I let it rest in its place, a single small reminder of the sweet and wonderful things its user brought in to my life for a while…and I smile fondly.

another brilliant dream

OMG, this morning I woke from another incredibly vivid and brilliant dream, this one vastly different in nature from the last. It was about revenge:

I heard strange noises early in the morning and heard a key in the lock — someone was entering my house. I was petrified; I couldn’t move. I gathered the strength to get out of bed and then went to the window and looked out. Trucks were dropping large lumpy bundles, like big canvas bales onto the yard.

I watched as my ex carried my sleeping daughter in his arms to a waiting minivan. It was her birthday, and I think I saw her cousin with them in the van. As I watched from the window with curiosity, wondering what was going on, the truck drivers began unrolling the enormous bales, revealing generators and inflating a veritable carnival of jumping, climbing and sliding attractions in the front yard. (This of course, could not be really my front yard — it doesn’t have the room. Rather, my “dream” home was the house in which I grew up as child.)

I ventured downstairs, still in pajamas, bed head and bad breath, and saw several large envelopes with notes in my ex’s handwriting displayed on the dining table. Each contained a rental agreement for the inflatable circus of which I’d just been thrust into the center, all charged to my credit card. Worse, there were already dozens of strangers wandering throughout my house and yard.

THIS is a positively brilliant example of what hell might well be like (if it exists at all) and, in my dream, my ex was genius enough to create it. I actually remember feeling a certain amount of awe before the overwhelming irritation at some complete stranger with small children looking around my house for a bathroom took over. Something like that should never happen before 8am!

At any rate, I then woke up, awed at my second incredibly vivid dream in only a couple of days. In my dream, I had given my ex the ability and initiative to make something spectacular happen — perhaps even turned him into the kind of man I could respect, the kind of man who might have proven equal to me in marriage. Even while dreaming, I had been impressed with what he’d done, presumably to simultaneously surprise my daughter and peeve me.

Even now, more than 12 hours after waking, I still feel lingering amusement, a bit of (perhaps unearned) respect for my ex and, yes, maybe even a deeper level of forgiveness.


I suppose it was inevitable that my body would begin to go through withdrawal symptoms.

I mean, this has been my weekend:  I felt sick, I pulled myself together for a single family outing (presumably for the sole purpose of listening to two hours of bickering), I overdosed on hot Tang and Netflix and, finally, today I’ve awoken with swollen lymph nodes, an even sorer sore throat and a seemingly incurable case of 40-year-old divorcee libido.

In fact, the dream from which I awoke was distinguished in my personal history by the vast number of naked bodies and penises that graced it. Room after white room of naked bodies languidly sprawled on white-dressed beds, like multiple Calvin Klein underwear ads occurring simultaneously, but without the underwear. Yes, there were naked women, too, but the naked men and their generously sized semi-erect members (member — who ever thought of that euphemism, anyway?!) were the dominant feature of my dream. The bodies appeared artfully arranged and were seemingly both post coital and ready to serve. I wandered from room to room, greeted by the occasional unashamed acquaintance…and then I awoke. Horny.

Here we have a situation 80s hair band Cinderella so eloquently sang about in their ballad, “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone).” In other words, over the past several months, I’ve had the luxury of forgetting entirely what it’s like to be sexually unfulfilled. It was a luxury (along with so many others, like feeling loved and appreciated, for example) that I appreciated. Yet that doesn’t ease the urgency or pain of what I’m missing now.

Of course this is just one of many things I do and will miss about being in a relationship and the gentleman with whom I was involved, specifically. But that doesn’t make it any easier to manage these unfulfilled desires, at least not in the short term…at least while I’m out of the habit of replenishing my battery supply.

another first single weekend

This is my first weekend off (meaning without my children) since the break-up.

While we have exchanged a few texts and talked on the phone once since deciding to no longer see one another, we’ve mostly stuck to our agreement to not contact one another. My suspicion is that, if we were to do otherwise, it would be too easy to commiserate, to find ourselves back in each other’s arms… all of which, as lovely as it sounds, would derail us both from our long-term desires.

And yet, having awakened at 3am with watery eyes, a sore throat and clogged sinuses, called in sick and spent the day working from home in my pajamas, it’s tempting to play the sympathy card. After all, what could be the harm in asking someone to come and apply some balm to my wounds? It was bound to be a lonely weekend at any rate, I’m hoping to get better, stay strong and get some work done.

Will I resist temptation? Stay tuned…

the aftermath

Perhaps it seems flippant to observe that breakups don’t seem so traumatic once one’s been through a divorce. After all, I’ve seen the worst that it’s possible for a relationship to get. And I’ve survived.

This time, I invested just six months (rather than more that a decade). No house, no children, no shared accounts. But that doesn’t mean the past week has been easy…

  • The loneliness that I’m sure I’ve felt over the past couple of years but had forgotten has come back, and I feel it acutely in walking by a romantic cafe or driving by the coffee shop where we first met.
  • I see an ad for a romantic getaway in a quaint destination and feel regret that we didn’t get to enjoy it together. There were so many things I’d been looking forward to sharing.
  • Finally, I have been surprisingly lax in the grooming of my bikini area. Yes, I know…TMI.

Somehow, today, amidst the chaos of children at home and relatives visiting, he dropped off some belongings that had been at his place and managed to go completely unseen. I found myself sad that I didn’t get at least a glimpse, a reassuring smile, a warm hug…

Still, I have no regrets. It’s been nice to miss someone, to remember our times together fondly…

bittersweet valentine

Today is a particularly bittersweet Valentine’s Day for me, as my guy and I recently decided to split. As I mentioned in my last post, I just wasn’t feeling those intense, urgent feelings that we associate with being in love (or infatuation, if you will).

I was happy, content to spend time with this man I enjoyed getting to know, actually pleased to be able to see him for the man he was — without the clouded judgment and crazy-making obsession — and like, love and care for him, warts and all. The status quo was enough. There were so many more things I looked forward to sharing with him. I could wait to see whether it would grow. But in my heart of hearts, I didn’t know that it would. And of course he wanted more than that…more than I could give right now.

Even after we talked about it, we went on with our plans for the evening, smooching at the deli counter, holding hands in the car, holding one another until the wee hours. It was tender, compassionate, honest, respectful…much as our relationship had been.

So while I’ve reflected on it all these past few days, the overwhelming feeling I’ve had is that I’m so incredibly blessed! Blessed and honored for the privilege of knowing such a wonderful man intimately, for the tender moments we shared and for the way we conducted ourselves throughout. I was proud of standing up for myself, drawing boundaries, expressing my feelings, needs and desires, for arguing without saying something that might cause un-doable harm and, in the end, for being honest with myself and with him about how I wasn’t feeling.

I’m sure I could list at least a hundred things I’ll miss about him, including his gentle touch, generosity and soft lips. I’ll miss hearing all the kind, life-affirming things he said to me — and I can only hope I said some kind things back to him that he will carry with him, too.

It was a wonderful relationship with the best possible break-up, one that leaves me feeling bittersweet and so, so blessed.

am I in love?

A while ago, I wrote about getting my guy one of those couples conversation starter kits, thereby bringing me up in his BCS standings. We took this acrylic cube filled with questions to lunch with us one lazy weekend day, pulling out cards and sharing our thoughts while waiting for our food.

I was a bit taken aback at a question that read, “When did you know you were in love with me?” And then, I took the lead in side-stepping it. My answer told him when I thought I’d begun to feel love for him because, frankly, after a few short months of dating, I wasn’t sure I was in love. But it was more than that…

I’m not sure I know any more what it means to be in love, much less what it feels like. Those feelings that I’d had what now seems aeons ago were of intense longing, ferocious protection and probably a desperately unhealthy co-dependence. In other words, I can clearly recall what it was like to feel infatuation. And I know what it feels like to have crushes — I’ve had many before and since my marriage.

So I know what crushes and infatuation feel like. I know what it means to love and to commit. Yet…while I always looked forward to the weekends that I’d see my boyfriend, I didn’t have longing or passion or butterflies-in-the-stomach anticipation about it. I kept waiting for those feelings to kick in, wondering if they would, hoping they might. And for a brief moment, they seemed to. Then the moment passed.

I have to wonder whether it’s just the timing — that I’m not ready to be in love, that I’m not capable of feeling that just now — or if it was something between us that was just not there. Or if it will come slowly, blossoming like a beautiful flower.

My heart is open. I’m going to have to trust that I’ll know when I’m feeling it.